Friday, April 5, 2013

When I Grow Up

I don't know what I want to do when I grow up Evan goes to Kindergarten next year.

I've been out of the workforce for ten years.  Ten years.  No one wants to hire a mom of three who hasn't been employed for an entire decade, especially when she will still need to be the parent who has to take off when a kid is sick or needs a dental cleaning (why oh why can I never get them an after-school appointment?).  The closest thing I can find that fits my requirements (off in the summer, keeps the same schedule as school, gives me time to get the kids to their activities in the afternoon) are becoming a sub at one of their schools or working at Evan's current pre-school.

I'm a certified teacher and could technically do either of those jobs.  But I don't want to do either one of those jobs.  If we really needed the money, then yes, I'd suck it up and do it, but the thought of holding my tongue spending my day with other people's children and then being nice to my own at the end of the day sounds nearly impossible for me.  I decided when Syd was born that I had just enough patience to be a good teacher or to be a good mother, but that I could not do both.  The women who can do both have my utmost respect, that's for sure.

So, despite my desire to add to the college fund, it's probably just not going to happen.

The way I see it, stay-at-home moms traditionally (and yes, stereotypically) have four options:
1. Drink
2. Shop
3. Volunteer
4. Find a hobby

As for #1 - I'm not much of a drinker.  An occasional glass of wine or cocktail is more than enough for me, especially since alcohol messes with my sleep cycle and after years of sleeplessness due to insomnia or those three little people who wake me up with an earache, vomiting or a fear of thunder, I refuse to intentionally let anything interrupt my sleep.

As for #2 - I'm too cheap/frugal to be a shopper.  The guilt of spending money on myself far outweighs any enjoyment I get out of whatever object or item of clothing I've bought so this is not an option for me.  And after listening to a co-worker gripe about this quality in his wife, I think Ryan is quite thankful I'm not a shopper.

As for #3 - I've tried.  And I will continue to try.  But it is hard to volunteer when you're an introvert, especially when the other volunteers are clique-ish and snooty.  I prefer my volunteer work to be the kind that can be done at home by myself (Girl Scout troop treasurer, Sunday School class secretary).  Sigh.

As for #4 - Not a problem - I have lots of hobbies.  I love to read.  I go to the gym a few times a week.  I go to a Moms' Bible Study at church.  I like researching recipes and trying them out.  I've started making all kinds of foods that I usually used to buy - yogurt, granola, jams, hummus, vanilla (this is so easy and so much cheaper than the store-bought stuff!).  I've been painting a bit, too.  The problem is, as much as I love these hobbies, none of them will help me contribute to the braces/college/vacation funds.  I thought the chocolate business would work, but my state doesn't allow me to sell them because they're candy.

If there's a way for me to turn one of my hobbies into something more, I haven't figured it out yet....

I guess I wish that I had some sort of passion that I could turn into a career.  I am envious of Sarah, who has turned her passion for encouraging women to have the births they want into a career as a doula.  I'm envious of moms who have turned their love of photography into businesses taking pictures of sweet little newborns.  I'm jealous of the moms who have a job that they can freelance or work part-time, like the speech therapists and writers that I know.

Anyway....enough middle-class/first-world whining.  I know I should appreciate being able to be in the position I am and there are women all over the world who would trade places with me in a heartbeat.

In short, I really need to get over it.

But for the life of me, I just can't figure out how.


  1. Jana, I'd encourage you to inquire about writing for your community newspaper. I've recently started writing for The Leader and I really enjoy it. The pay is nothing (or, if you're lucky, next-to-nothing) but it's nice to feel like I'm contributing in some way and using my headmeat. You're a great writer!

  2. I remember having these same thoughts last summer before Pattie started school. I imagined all the long mid-day bubble baths I would enjoy because I would have those school hours all to myself. Well, it has been 7 months now and I have taken ZERO bubble baths. I just don't know where my time goes most days. It's kind of nutty. I am completely with you on the volunteer thing. I consider myself lucky that I found one nice friend I actually like and we sometimes get together. We are today actually. Other than that, I am at home, wondering if I will ever get a blog post up again :)

    PS-Vanilla recipe, please?